Practically all content creation goes through some form of the 11-step content creation process I’ll outline (and explain) below.
Other articles on other sites may explore some aspects of these steps in more detail, but when you get right down to it, these 11 steps are the process that we at the SEO Intelligence Agency (SIA) and most professional web publishers go through.
If you’re creating content based on keyword research, ask yourself: what’s the search intent of a person who types in this search query?
Likewise, you could also think, given my headline, what would a person interested in this content be looking for?
Everyone who enters a search query in a search engine, or clicks on an enticing headline, has some type of intent.
Yes, this is obvious, but your goal in creating that content is to try to meet that person’s intent as best as you can (or if you’re creating teaser content, at least point them in the right direction).
You may have heard of the Buyer’s Journey or some other similar concept. Basically, the belief is that every single existing customers that you have, before they became a customer, was…
1. First unaware of you (or even unaware that they had a need for your product).
2. Then, they were aware of a problem, desire or need.
3. They then came across possible solutions.
4. One of these solutions may have been yours.
5. After evaluating their options, they chose to do business with you.
6. And even better, they’re a happy customer who tells others about you.
That’s a short version of the Buyer’s Journey.
There’s a key reason why I bring up the buyer’s journey within the context of content creation: you have to know where your potential customer currently is on their journey. Once you know this, with each piece of content, you should try to move them one step closer to making a decision.
Knowing this, you have a potential source of inspiration for your next content idea.
This step comes from a branding perspective. When you build a brand, you want to consistently share your brand message.
You can basically do this in 2 steps:
If your vision, brand message, and intent behind each product/service you offer is unified, you won’t have any problems matching them to the reader’s (or viewer’s or listener’s) needs.
I’m going a bit beyond the scope of this article, but I’ll just say this: one vision, one message. That’s exactly what unites everything.
This may be obvious. Which types of content would be best? Would video, written content, audio, images (or a combination thereof) be the best for this subject?
What about a white paper? Or an infographic?
Or (and I know I’m going a bit beyond here) a free trial (which could be free content that’s otherwise paid-for)? Or a free coaching call? What about a free session at your clinic?
Now, I know that a free session isn’t content per se, but…what if your prospect allowed that session to be taped/recorded, so that you could provide that video (which is content) to others?
If you’re creating a how-to, you can have a combination of written, visual, and video content. (You can upload your video to YouTube, Vimeo, or other appropriate video platform, and embed it onto your typed post on your blog and also share it to your social media feeds.)
Lay out your main and minor points, then be sure they’re in a sequential structure. If you have expert content creators on your staff (or have enrolled outside services), they should have some sort of outlining process in place.
In fact, they may want you to look at the outline before they actually create the content.
Write, record, or create. Be sure you have everything you need: your training, your equipment, lighting, a good microphone, good acoustics, etc.
Depending on what format your content is in, how professional you want to appear, and your budget, you may want to have a content editing process. This is where you have a third-party editor look at your content, or you can handle that in-house.
Don’t forget things like grammar, flow, and spelling. There are free tools online for that.
But this isn’t limited to written content. If you’ve ever created professional audio, you know that editing applies there as well. Although in an audio, grammatical errors are a bit more difficult to edit, depending on the time you have, they can be corrected in subsequent drafts.
This step might be blended into the previous one. Proofreading, of course, is just when you do a final read to make sure everything is okay.
Set when you would like to publish the content and then publish it to your blog, website, social media, etc., whichever content platform you choose.
Of course, this step doesn’t happen right away. In fact, this is probably the most iterative step of the entire process. You may want to publish a number of pieces of content, across a number of platforms, before you have enough content to assess, to see which content is getting you the best results.
Of course, you’re not just going to stop with one blog post, article, or video. You need to do more, according to a schedule. That’s really as simple as content creation can be: research, create, assess, repeat.
In addition to the 11 steps I have provided above, you may find the following tips helpful in creating your web content.
I sort of alluded to this above. If you have a solid vision and message, and every one of your offerings is an outgrowth of that (plus, if you’ve done the research to ensure there’s demand for your offerings), then it should echo in every high-quality content piece you create.
It’s always good to re-familiarize yourself with our customer research. Also, you can dig deeper and find more content ideas this way.
Whereas your company’s vision is more long-term, what I’m asking you here is to consider your medium- and short-term goals.
Are you creating content that will hopefully attract people into an email marketing campaign? Is your aim to build an email list?
This may be beyond the content creation aspect, but it may encompass it, so it’s good to consider where content creation fits into the larger picture.
I’ve heard it said that the average potential customer may need 8 to 11 “touches” (or exposures to you, or your message, your product, etc.) before they buy.
Of course, this depends on what you offer: if you’re a massage therapist, maybe not so many exposures; but if you offer customized financial services, maybe more. Maybe you’ll have to speak to prospective clients, assure that their money is safe with you, provide accreditation, and so on.
If not, you may wish to consider one.
If I were to briefly describe a content marketing plan, I’d first say that you generate one once you have a few main components in place: market and customer research, SEO and keyword research, and a realistic evaluation of how long it will take to gain traction in the search engines.
Then, you hypothetically ask, “Okay. We want to inform our prospects as to how we can best serve them. What do we tell them? What content, and how much of it, do we create?”
Now, that’s probably a bit of an oversimplification, but that’s the beginning of a content marketing plan.
Your target audience may not be “the market,” as, depending on your keyword, that may be too broad. That’s why I say that, whenever you (or your team) is starting on a specific piece of content, you know who you’re writing to (or recording for, taking a photo for, etc).
What they should look for are the queries that searchers use to find your site.
Are there any queries that pique your attention?
If so, those may be valid sources of content ideas, such as blog posts, that you can publish to your social media platforms.
A good content strategy is long-term, comprehensive, and involves various types of content.
Some content creation tools are free, some offer a free trial, some are affordable, and still others can be out of your budget.
Of course, word processing software, such as Microsoft Word or Google Drive, can be thought of as content creation tools, and it’s likely that you’re familiar with such software. Heck, even your content management system (WordPress or other site platform), can be thought of as a content creation tool.
Another type of content creation tool would be what’s called content optimization tools. Frase and Surfer SEO are examples of such tools. Without going into too much detail, my understanding is that they basically help the writing process by suggesting keyword phrases that are highly correlated among the highest-ranking content in the search engines.
If you’re a content marketer and are familiar with SMART goals, you can use that process to guide you in your content efforts. If you’re not sure what SMART is, it’s an acronym that says that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-limited.
(If you look up SMART goals online, you might find that there are slight variations in wording, but you get the point.)
You can use this goal-setting method in all areas of your life.
And, this content doesn’t have to be overtly promotional. Let’s say you offer something that meets a specific need or want. Instead of “How Our Product Does X,” you can have a headline that reads, “A Tale of 2 People Who Used to Struggle With ABC.”
You’re probably thinking of businesses that have at least a dozen on their staff, if not more.
But if you’re the owner of a very small business of less than 6 staff, or you’re a solopreneur, don’t discount the notion of having a content team.
The term, unique content, is usually used in reference to written content. (That said, there is the idea that images, audio, and video should also be unique.)
Unique, of course, means one-of-a-kind, or something that there’s only one of.
What’s wrong with submitting the same content to different sites, as is done in content syndication?
Well, the concern is that, if 2 sites have the same content (say, yours and a more established one), the more established site may out-rank yours for the same content (maybe even if it’s published on your site first).
That’s why, instead of publishing and submitting one article many times, it’s better to have many different articles.
Or…maybe one unique article, but re-written for each additional submission, so that each additional submission is unique.
But, that can be time-consuming.
We want to be efficient.
Is there a way where we can retain some of our original efforts, yet create enough uniqueness so that each submission of our content is seen as unique?
It seems that there is a way, and 51%, according to a test we at the SEO Intelligence Agency did, seems to be the magic number.
In SIA Test #40, it was tested how much original text is required for a content to be considered unique by Google. In this particular test, as I said earlier, it was found out that you only need 51% of the content to be unique in order to pass the duplicate content filter.
In this video, Clint discusses the test more into detail and his thoughts on this particular test.
As I said in the beginning, content creation is simple. I hope the steps I laid out above, plus the accompanying tips, helps you establish your own process that you can work with, over and over again.
In need of more guidance? We have more articles on content creation and content on SEO and getting your site and pages ranked in search engines. Check out our other articles for more details.